Mitchell Schwartz, who starred at right tackle for the Cleveland Browns for four seasons, retired from the NFL on Thursday after a nine-year career.
Schwartz broke the retirement news himself via his Twitter account.
Schwartz, who has not played since injuring his back during the 2020 season while with the Kansas City Chiefs, referenced both the injury and his tenure with the Browns in his statement, which reads in part:
“I’m officially retiring from the NFL. It’s been almost two years since I injury my back. I had surgery last February and have been doing rehab ever since. I’m currently feeling as good as I have since then, but it’s clear my body won’t ever be the same. The nerve pain down my legs is no longer a daily occurrence, but it may never go away.
“There are a lot of people to thank, but I’ll highlight those who impacted me the most. … The Cleveland Browns and (former general manager) Tom Heckert for drafting me and giving me my start.
“Thanks to my teammates in Cleveland and KC. This game is only as fun as the people you spend your time with and I was lucky to have the best teammates throughout my career.”
The Browns selected Schwartz in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft out of California and he was without a doubt the lone highlight of that year’s draft class, which included selecting running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeded in the first round.
Schwartz immediately moved into the starting lineup as a rookie and was part of one of the league’s best offensive lines along with left tackle Joe Thomas and center Alex Mack, who announced his own retirement earlier this summer.
After starting every game over his first four seasons, Schwartz entered free agency in 2016 as the Browns started a long-overdue rebuild of the roster. While Cleveland made an offer to Schwartz, his agent tried to find something better. When that did not happen, they came back to the Browns, who by that time had moved on.
While that was a clear misstep on the part of the Browns, things worked out well for Schwartz as he subsequently signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he spent five seasons, earning an All-Pro selection in 2018 and helping the Chiefs win the Super Bowl following the 2019 season.
A back injury ended Schwartz’s season after six games in 2020. The Chiefs released Schwartz in March of 2021 and he did not play another game before announcing his retirement.